AWD | The AWD Group achieved sales revenues for continuing operations of EUR 633 million for the 2008 financial year, which corresponds to a decline of 12% vis-à-vis the record result of the previous year. The corresponding result before interest and tax amounted to EUR 20 million. The year-on-year decline of EUR 63 million is primarily attributable to developments in Austria and the United Kingdom. Expenses accrued by the recruitment drive and further advisor retention measures also impacted the operating result.

In its home market of Germany, AWD was able to maintain sales revenues at EUR 386 million, the same as the previous year, despite the adverse market environment. AWD also outperformed the market in Switzerland, with sales revenues dipping by only 2% to EUR 69 million. Sales revenues in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe fell by around 31% to EUR 115 million in the period under review. The decline in sales is mainly due to the situation in Austria, where developments in previous years was based on equity and real estate products. The necessary corrective measures have been taken. The markets in Central and Eastern Europe still have strong growth momentum, even if this slowed somewhat in the second half of 2008 in the wake of the economic downswing. In the United Kingdom, AWD recorded a 33% decline in sales revenue to EUR 63 million in 2008. In future, AWD will concentrate in the United Kingdom on the core business with wealth management for private clients and corporate pensions consulting. The cost base was reduced significantly and sales management improved at the same time. The remortgaging business (AWD Home Finance) and other smaller business areas have been sold or discontinued. With this sharply focused business and the attractive existing client base in the high net worth individuals segment, AWD aims to turn in a positive profit contribution in the United Kingdom once again in 2009. Expenses totalling EUR 26 million were booked to the AWD Group for the 2008 financial year to cover the entire restructuring project in the United Kingdom. The AWD Group has been consolidated in the accounts of the Swiss Life Group since the end of March 2008. The AWD segment posted a loss of CHF 41 million for 2008. In addition to the above-mentioned expenses for the reorganisation of operations in the United Kingdom, this loss also contains expenditure for the amortisation of the customer relationship assets taken on in the acquisition.

Key figures for AWD 
In CHF million20082007+/–
Asset management and other commission income750n.a.
Financial result (without share of results of associates)2n.a.
Other income15n.a.
Total income767n.a.
Interest expense0n.a.
Operating expense–808n.a.
Segment result–41n.a.
Number of employees (full-time equivalents)1 749n.a.
Financial advisors6 009n.a.
Advised clients429 100n.a.


In the reporting year about 430 000 clients turned to AWD advisors for support in optimising their finances. Around 248 000 of them were core clients and 182 000 new clients. The number of advisors decreased by 5% in 2008 to 6009. This decline was primarily due to higher rates of fluctuation in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom. AWD Group was also exposed to the intensified competition for qualified advisors. In Germany in particular, increased qualification requirements meant that less-highly-qualified advisors left the market. The number of advisors developed well in the fourth quarter, especially in Germany.

The cooperation between Swiss Life and AWD is developing well. Swiss Life products in Germany have already advanced to AWD’s “best select” range in various product categories. Sales volumes for these products have risen accordingly. In Switzerland, AWD successfully introduced its first Swiss Life product in November 2008. The partnership will not affect AWD’s “best select” approach and the independent advice business model.

The Board of Management of AWD was extended to include additional members as of 1 September 2008. The underlying reasons for this move are to lay solid foundations for further growth, to combine market proximity with best practice transfer and to fully exploit the potential for efficiency improvements. Carsten Maschmeyer was joined by Manfred Behrens, formerly Swiss Life’s CEO Germany, as Co-CEO of AWD. The national CEOs Rolf Wiswesser (Germany) and Marco Baur (Switzerland) have also been promoted to the Board. The Deputy Chairman of the Board, Nils Frowein, has assumed the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer. Martin Jünke, formerly Director of Group Finance, has been appointed the new CFO. Wilhelm Zsifkovits will remain in charge of distribution as Chief Sales Officer.

Despite widespread uncertainty regarding the financial markets and clients’ liquidity- oriented approach to investments, the AWD Group expects a significantly improved performance for 2009 vis-à-vis the previous year. The restructuring measures introduced in the United Kingdom, the consolidation of the Proventus Group and the planned expansion of distribution capabilities will all play a role here. AWD intends to grow sales revenues to around EUR 1 billion and achieve operating income before taxes (EBIT) of EUR 130 million by 2012.

 
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